Hazelnut Harvest

7 Oct

As promised I finally have some photos to show of what hazelnut harvest looks like here in Oregon.  We finally got some good drying weather around here and were able to get out in the orchards and pick up most of the nuts, we still may run back for a second pick but it feels good to get most of the crop up off the ground and into the processor.  The whole harvesting process is pretty simple….it’s really as easy as 1, 2, 3ish….more like steps 1 to 8.

  1. Allow all the nuts to fall naturally to the ground, we don’t use a tree shaker.wpid-20130916_093351.jpg
  2. Use a machine called a sweeper to sweep the nuts away from the trees and into rows that look like the photo below.012
  3. Drive the harvester right over the top of the row.  0404. The harvester uses a belt to pick up the nuts into the harvester, then they go over a dirt chain that allows dirt and small debris to fall through. 028 Here’s a look without the covers on the harvester of the inside belts.  035 5. Followed by a large powerful fan that blows all the lighter material out,029 6. Followed by another chain that moves the nuts out of the harvester and into a wagon. You can see it was a bit muddy while we were out there!0177. Once the wagon gets full you have to unload it into totes using two more belts (you can imagine all the moving parts on this sucker…let’s just say there is a LOT of greasing to do everyday!)041 Sorry this video is actually pretty terrible, I was trying to take a picture of the unloading process and instead this is what I got…sorry, but hope you get the jest of it!
    020Here’s a photo of the whole long train of a harvester.
    8. Once in the totes we dump them into a truck to be hauled into the processor.0450469. The processor in less than 8 days will have the nuts cleaned and dried while still in the shell, at this point they are pretty well preserved and won’t mold or go bad.  They can be stored and shipped very easily.

We finished all of our acres up in just three long days, mostly days of sunshine so we can’t complain.  We should head back out next week to get a few more into totes, the price looks great this year so it’s worth spending a little more money in fuel to put a few more nuts into totes.

So although our last harvest of the year is wrapping up, we are still hoping for some good weather to get more grass seed planted and fertilizing done.  The fall is just beginning and for farmers in this area we don’t stop to take a breath usually until winter is in full swing.

3 Responses to “Hazelnut Harvest”

  1. Judi Graff (@farmnwife) October 7, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Was wondering why you don’t use a tree shaker?

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    • Nuttygrass October 7, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      Good question…because the nuts aren’t mature until they fall. If we shook them out of the tree, sure many would be ready to harvest, but we would also get a lot of green nuts that aren’t ready to be picked up yet. I do know if some people who have used low flying helicopters to speed up the process possibly before a big weather event, but we have never had to do that. Thanks for your question Judi!

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